January 20th, 2020

Bargain Finder 226: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Sunday afternoon or Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. EuroOptic — Free Kestrel 5700 with Leupold Mark 5HD Scope

Leupold Mark 5 HD sale Free Kestrel 5700

If you don’t own a Kestrel yet, this is a fantastic deal. Right now at EuroOptic, if you purchase a Leupold Mark 5 HD scope, you get a FREE Kestrel 5700 with Hornady 4DOF, a $499.00 value. Choose from a variety of Leupold Mark 5HD models, MOA or MRAD: 7-35x56mm, 5-25x56mm, and 3.6-18x44mm. That Kestrel 5700 includes an advanced Ballistics App.

2. Cabela’s — Savage 12 FV and Ruger American Rifles on Sale

Cabela's rifle sale cabin fever january 2020

Looking for a great deal on a basic hunting rifle? Cabela’s is offering big discounts on Savage 12FV and Ruger American rifles now through 11:59 pm on January 22, 2020. The Savage 12FV is marked down to just $369.97 while the Rugers are 10% Off. Along with rifle bargains, Cabela’s Cabin Fever Sale includes great deals on hunting clothing, camping gear, and ammo.

3. Brownells — CCI .22 LR Ammo, $22.99 for 500 rounds

CCI rimfire .22 LR standard velocity ammo discount sale free shipping brownells $10 off

Here’s a great deal on big-name, rimfire ammo. Right now you can get a 500-round pack of CCI Standard Velocity 40gr LRN ammo for just $22.99. That works out to just four-and-a-half cents per round. That’s a great deal on reliable CCI ammo. But it gets even better. If you purchase at least four 500-rd packs (2000 rounds total), and add a small item to get the order over $99.00, you also get $10.00 Off and FREE shipping and with Discounnt CODE MDX. There is also a CCI Ammo Rebate if you buy a new rimfire firearm in 2020.

4. Sportsman’s Warehouse — Ruger 9mm SR9 Pistol, $249.95

ruger sr9 9mm compact pistol handgun

We’ve shot the Ruger SR9 9mm pistol and we like the ergonomics MUCH better than a Glock. The SR9 is comfortable with a slim, ergonomic grip, reversible backstrap, and narrow stainless slide. The Ruger SR9 also includes ambidextrous manual safety and magazine release, built-in Picatinny rail, and adjustable high-viz 3-dot sight system. If you are looking for a standard 9x19mm pistol (4.14″ barrel), this is a great value — $249.95 at Sportsman’s Warehouse

5. Amazon — ADDTOP Power Bank with Solar Panels, $39.99

Power bank battery USB charger solar panels remote charging

Power — modern shooters need mobile battery power to run a LabRadar, charge a Tablet monitoring a Target Camera, or charge you smartphone running a Ballistics App. Here’s one of the best compact USB-port batteries you can buy. This offers 25000 mAh of energy, PLUS it has four solar panels (one built-in, three external). This ADDTOP Power Bank is on sale now for $39.99 on Amazon, a good deal.

6. Walmart — EZShoot Rifle Case with Shoulder Straps, $38.59

EZShoot Rifle carry case varmint carry straps shoulder

We like this versatile bag for hunting and varmint trips. The 47.2″ EZshoot gun case provides good protection for scoped rifles with up to about 27″ barrels. The large pockets will hold binoculars, laser rangefinder, windmeter, ammunition, and other gear. The big bonus is this inexpensive carry case includes comfortable, adjustable shoulder straps. That makes it easy to carry everything from your vehicle to your shooting area. You get all this functionality for under twenty-five bucks. Walmart currently offers this 47.2″ case for just $38.59 with FREE shipping to your residence.

7. Amazon — Padded Shooting Mat, $37.99

redneck roll-up padded shooting mat

Are you new to prone shooting or tired of using an old worn out mat? Grab one of these Redneck Convent padded shooting mats and you shoot in style and comfort all day long. These pads are weather, chemical and water resistant and the durable PVC material is easy to clean and maintain. Best of all it rolls up for easy storage and transport.

8. Field Supply — Huge Discounts on Gerber and Other Knives

gerber winchester sog knife blade discount sale

Gerber makes excellent fixed- and folding-blade knives. Right now at Field Supply you can save up to 72% on Gerber and other popular knife brands. The multi-function Gerber Bear Grylls Grandfather is just $9.68, while the Gerber 3-Knife Pursuit Hunting Kit (Kukri Machete, Saw, Fixed Blade) is now $37.13, marked down from $92.00. That’s a superb blade trio for hunters. There are also great deals on Winchester knives. For example, Winchester Fine Edge Folders are just $9.66.

9. Amazon — Bore-Snake Two-Pack, $7.99

Bore-Snake stocking stuffer two kit

While bore cleaning should be done with a good cleaning rod and fitted bore guide, there are times when Bore-Snakes can be handy, such as when cleaning pistols and 10/22s. Now on Amazon you can get two (2) convenient GogoKu Bore-Snakes for just $7.99. Get two of the same diameter (.22 up to 12ga), or choose a Kit with both .223 and .308 sizes. Handy item for your range bag. For a limited time you may be able to get 20% OFF by using code 20ZFXQ3W at checkout.

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January 19th, 2020

TOP TEN Methods to Dry Cartridge Brass after Wet Cleaning

Wet Tumbling Brass Drier

Many shooters these days clean their cartridge brass ultrasonically, or wet-tumble their cases with stainless media (above). Both methods get brass clean and shiny, inside and out. However, when those wet-cleaning processes are completed, you’re left with a pile of soaking wet brass. How do you dry your brass quickly and efficiently, without unsightly water spots? Read on for some great answers…

In our Shooters’ Forum, Forum Gold Member Terry asked: “How do you dry your brass after Ultrasonic cleaning?” In an interesting Reloading Forum Thread, many smart suggestions were posted. A dozen fellow members outlined a variety of effective case-drying procedures, which work equally well for both wet-tumbled brass and ultrasonically-cleaned cases. Here are the Top 10 brass-drying suggestions from our Forum members.

TOP TEN Ways to Dry Cartridge Brass After Wet Cleaning

1. Food Dehydrator — Shake the brass in towel to get the bulk of water off. Next leave in the food dehydrator for 45 minutes or until there are no signs of moisture inside the cases. — Lawrence97

2. Lyman 5-Level Case Dryer — Rinse off cleaning solution(s), then load brass by type into racks in Lyman Cyclone Case Dryer. This is easier to load/unload than food dehydrators and holds more cases.

Lyman Cyclone Case Drier

3. Hot Water + Compressed Air — Rinse all your cases as a batch using scalding hot water from the kitchen sink. Hot water evaporates off of brass very very quickly. Then hit them with compressed air. Takes 10 minutes. Simple. — SG4247

4. Oven Dry in Pre-Heated Oven — After pre-heating to 200° or so, turn off oven and put brass inside on a tray. Most important! Tell your wife what you are doing so she doesn’t crank it up to 425 to heat pizza! — MClark

NOTE: Many other members suggested oven drying at 150-200°. We recommend turning OFF the oven so you don’t cook your brass if you forget to remove the cases.

Dry Cartridge Brass heat gun5. Towel Dry then Warm with Heat Gun — Roll brass in a towel until no more water shakes out. Lay out on cardboard box top and blow off with Harbor Freight heat gun. $9.99 on coupon. Two minutes of heated air and about half hour of wait and they are good to go. This is with primers removed. — Shaggy357

6. Compressed Air, then Sun Dry Outside – I rinse the brass, then blow them out with compressed air. Then, dependent on the time of year, lay them on a towel in the sun. — HogPatrol

7. Dishwasher on Dry Cycle – In the winter, I drop my wet brass cases neck-down on the rack pegs in the dishwasher, then turn on the dry cycle. In the summer…well, I’m in Texas. They go to the porch for a bit. — Toolbreaker

8. Alcohol Rinse then Air or Oven Dry — Rinse in 90% Isopropyl alcohol and either let air dry or stick in 175° oven for half an hour. Alternatively, use a dehydrator. — Zipollini

9. Slow Air-Dry in Loading Blocks — I have a reloading block with holes drilled in it. I simply load the block up and let it air-dry in the cupboard for a couple of days. — JCS

10. Wipe with Towel Then Anneal Normally — This thread is stirring my OCD side. Seems complicated for just drying — my brass dries just fine when I anneal it. This entire process can’t take an hour per batch. When finished, the brass is cleaned, annealed, and ready to size. — CHLuke

  • Deprime, then tumble brass with stainless media, water, Lemishine, and dish detergent.
  • Shake them easily in a strainer to knock out most media then grab 4-5 pieces, shake them over the bucket for the last of the media then inside a towel.
  • Finally blow out the primer pockets and wipe with a towel, load in the Annealeez.

Wet Tumbling Brass Drier

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January 18th, 2020

Flash-Hole First Aid — Clearing Obstructions in Flash-Holes

Flash-hole reamer

Even with high-quality brass from Lapua, Norma, and RWS, occasionally you may find one or two cases per box which have a small flake or obstruction in the flash-hole. This will appear like a thin crescent on one side of the flash hole (see photo). You should inspect ALL new brass before loading to identify any pieces with a partially-obstructed flash hole. It’s a good idea to remove any flake or thin crescent left as an artifact of the flash-hole forming process. Because the flash-hole itself is normally centered and of the correct diameter, it is not necessary to ream the flash-hole to a larger diameter. All you really need to do is remove the small obstruction(s). This can be done quickly with inexpensive tools.

Use a Small Pin Vise to Remove Flash-Hole Obstructions
Folks have asked if there is a tool that can remove obstructions from a Lapua small, BR-sized flash hole without opening the hole size. The Lapua PPC/BR flash hole is spec’d at 1.5mm, which works out to 0.059055″. Most of the PPC/BR flash-hole uniforming tools on the market use a 1/16″ bit which is nominally 0.0625″, but these often run oversize — up to 0.066″.

If you want to just clear out any obstructions in the flash hole, without increasing the flash hole diameter, you can use an inexpensive “pin vise” with an appropriate drill bit. For $0.99, eHobbyTools.com sells a 1.5mm drill bit, item 79186, that matches the Lapua flash hole exactly. Other vendors offer a #53 pin vise drill bit that measures .0595″ or .060″ (depending or source). An 0.0595″ bit is close enough. You can find pin vises and these small-diameter drill bits at hobby stores.

Pin vises Lapua Flash hole

For quite some time, Sinclair Int’l has sold a similar device for small (PPC and BR-size) flash holes. Like the 07-3081 unit for large flash holes, the 073000 Reamer for small flash holes works from the outside, so it can index off the primer pocket. It reams to .0625″, and also costs $29.99. The standard dimension for Lapua 220 Russian and 6mmBR flash holes is 1.5mm or .0590″. This tool will permit standard-size decapping rods with .0625″ tips to work without binding. However, note that both Forster and Redding normally supply .057″ decapping pins with their PPC and BR dies. So, it is NOT necessary to ream your Lapua BR/PPC flashholes, unless you prefer to do so for uniformity. It IS, however, a good idea to check BR/PPC flash holes for burrs before loading the first time.

AccurateShooter Sinclair Flash Hole Reamer

NOTE: If you purchase either the 073081 or 073000 Sinclair Flash Hole Reamer tools, we recommend you mic the cutter tip before you process a bunch of cases. Sometimes a tip comes through that is oversize. This will ream the flash holes larger than you may intend.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 2 Comments »
January 16th, 2020

SIZING DIES: Full-Length Dies, Neck-Sizing Dies, Small Base Dies

Sizing dies brass sinclair redding full length neck neck-sizing small base

This article is part of Sinclair Int’l Step-By-Step Reloading Series. Most of the products mentioned in this article are sold through Brownells.com.

by Roy Hill, Brownells/Sinclair Copywriter
Making your own precision handloads is a meticulous journey with many steps, many important matters to consider, and many sets of measurements to calculate. For those who pursue the perfect group, the highest score, the really long accurate shot, the rewards more than outweigh the effort. Choosing the right cases, deburring the flash holes, making the primer pockets uniform, trimming the cases, and lubricating them are all familiar – and critical – steps along the journey. And now that your brass preparation is complete, you are at last ready to start running the cases through your press and fill them with primers, powder, and bullets. The very first die the brass encounters is the sizing die. You insert the case, work the press’s lever to return the case to its correct pre-fired dimensions – and the journey continues.

Sinclair International Int'l fL full-length sizing die bump die shoulder bump gauge

There are three types of sizing dies to think about: neck, full-length, and small base. All three have specific benefits and potential drawbacks, and you should choose the type of die you use by thinking very carefully about what kind of shooting you plan to do with your handloads. No matter which type you select, most sizing dies will also punch out the old spent primer with some sort of decapper assembly that uses a hardened steel rod. Many types of sizing dies use an expander ball inside the die to make sure the neck of the case will accommodate a bullet after being sized. With some size dies, the expanders are easily removable and interchangeable, letting you get exactly the neck tension you want. If you are reloading for pistol cartridges, carbide sizing dies allow you to quickly resize without applying any lube to the case. But rifle cases always need lube.

Neck-Sizing Dies
Sinclair International Int'l fL full-length neck size neck-sizing die bump die shoulder bump gaugeNeck-sizing dies resize only the neck of the case. The benefit of sizing only the neck is that the brass is “worked” very little, letting you reuse the same cases many times over. Also, cases that have already been fired in your rifle are perfectly fireformed to fit that rifle’s chamber, which can help accuracy. However, neck-sized cases will fit only the specific rifle they were originally fired in, and may still require a little extra force to chamber or extract.

Sinclair recommends that neck-sized-only cartridges should not be used any in other rifle besides the one they were originally fired from [unless they are also FL-sized], or in any action other than a bolt-action. Neck-sized-only rounds are great for the target range or the benchrest but should not be used in critical situations like military or police operations, or hunting. And if you fire them enough times, neck-sized cases will still need to be full-length sized periodically for you to keep using them.

Full-Length Sizing Dies
Full-length sizing dies do exactly what their name says: resize the full length of the case, not just the neck. Full-length sizing helps create handloads that will function in any rifle, not just the one from which the cases were originally fired. The potential downside of full-length sizing is that it may shorten case life because it works the brass more than neck sizing. But it’s possible to “tune” today’s full-length sizing dies so they barely work the brass at all, as this article by Sinclair Reloading Tech Ron Dague shows.

Illustration Shows How a Full-Length Sizing Die Works
Sinclair International Int'l fL full-length sizing die bump die shoulder bump gauge

Another way to reap the benefits of full-length sizing is to use Redding’s full-length bushing dies, which size the full length of the case but use a system of interchangeable bushings that enable you give the case neck the bare minimum of resizing needed. To see how finely adjustable bushing dies are, and how they resize the case while fully supported, CLICK HERE for Video. The neck bushing helps you precisely control the neck tension to help increase the consistency and accuracy of your handloads.

Redding Custom full length dies

Small Base Dies
A Small Base Die is just another type of full-length sizing die, but one that is typically used when reloading for semi-automatic rifles, like the AR-15, M14, or AR-style .308 rifles. (It may also work well for bolt guns that need extra sizing on the lower section of the case.) A small base die works exactly like a full-length sizing die, only it compresses the brass just a bit more, usually about .001″ more, and may even push the case shoulder back just a hair. Small base dies give that extra bit of compression to the brass to help make sure the case will properly extract from a semi-automatic firearm. The upside is that you get precision handloads that should work flawlessly in your semi-automatic. The downside is case life is really shortened, especially compared to brass used only in one bolt-action rifle, because the brass is worked more.

Shoulder Bump Gauges
A handy tool for setting up your full-length sizing dies as close as possible to your rifle’s chamber is the Sinclair bump gauge. The bump gauge lets you resize the case as little as possible, to extend case life and help your handloads fit your rifle almost like a neck-sized only die. You use deprimed cases fired in your rifle and bump gauge inserts to help you set up the die so it resizes the case only about .001″ to .004″, depending on what type of rifle you’re shooting.

Video shows how to use a shoulder bump gauge to set up your full-length dies

Sinclair International Int'l sizing die bump die shoulder bump gauge

Article Find by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions
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January 14th, 2020

Corrosive Ammunition — How To Protect Your Firearms

Corrosive Ammo ammunition
Scary stuff — AK-74 after firing corrosive ammo and not being cleaned for a week.
Image courtesy
ADCOFirearms.com.

corrosive ammunition ammo BrownellsNo doubt you’ve heard the term “corrosive” used with respect to ammunition. But what exactly is “corrosive ammunition” (and how does it different from non-corrosive ammo)? What is the chemistry that leads to corrosion, and what cleaning procedures should you follow if you shoot corrosive ammunition? Brownells has come up with answers to these and other questions in a helpful TECH TIP video about corrosive ammo.

In this informative video, Brownells gun tech Steve Ostrem explains the primer-related chemistry that makes some ammo corrosive. The video then reviews suggested cleaning procedures you should follow after you have fired corrosive ammo through any firearms.

What Is “Corrosive” Ammunition?
What makes ammo “corrosive”? Generally speaking, primers are the problem. When corrosive ammunition is fired, the ignited primers leave a residue of corrosive salts. Typically these primers contain potassium chlorate, or sodium petrochlorate which, when burned, change into potassium chloride or sodium chloride. Sodium chloride is also known as common table salt.

Potassium chloride and sodium chloride are both very hygroscopic (i.e. they attract water). Because of that, these alkalis are rust generators. When exposed to the hydrogen and oxygen in the air (and moisture) potassium chloride and sodium chloride can form an acid that quickly causes metal rifle parts to rust and pit.

Given a choice, you may wish to avoid corrosive ammo altogether. However, for some types of fire-arms, particularly older military-style rifles, the most affordable ammunition may be corrosive. If you choose to use corrosive ammo, it is important to clean the gun thoroughly after use. After firing, you want to use an element that will neutralize the primer salts. Brownells suggests a water soak (see video above). Alternatively, Windex with ammonia can help neutralize the salts, but that doesn’t finish the job. After the salts have been neutralized and flushed away, basic anti-corrosion protectant (such as Eezox or other gun oil) should be applied to all metal parts.

This video ahows the effects of Corrosive Ammo after one month without cleaning:

To learn more about the proper procedures for cleaning rifles exposed to corrosive ammo, we suggest an article by Paul Markel on Ammoland.com. Markel, host of the popular Student of the Gun TV series, states that: “Windex (with ammonia) is the Corrosive Ammo shooter’s best friend. After you are done shooting your corrosive ammunition for the day, squirt the window cleaner liberally from the chamber down the barrel. Pull the bolt / bolt carrier / op rod if there is one and douse them as well. A couple of old cotton t-shirts will come in handy. A cotton barrel swab is a nice accessory but you can make do with patches. Some folks will rinse all of the ammonia and loosened corrosive salts off with hot water. Others prefer to wipe it all down and let the ammonia evaporate. Either way, once the corrosive salts have been tackled with the window cleaner, it is time for an all-purpose brush (old toothbrush) and some gun oil.” READ Full Article by Paul Markel.

Video Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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January 13th, 2020

Bargain Finder 225: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Sunday afternoon or Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. Bruno Shooters Supply — Seb NEO Rests in Stock

Seb NEO Brunos

The Seb NEO Coaxial front rest is often considered the finest rest available for F-Class and benchrest shooting but there can be a long wait to get one. Head over to Bruno Shooters Supply which has the standard NEO and Ratigan NEO in stock and ready to ship. If you’re looking to upgrade your gear before the match season starts, this is one of the best ways to do it.

2. Stocky’s — Rem 700 Composite Stock with Accublock, $99.99

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

These stocks were the first run of Stocky’s Long Range Composite Sporters. There is nothing wrong with these “factory seconds” except the barrel channels are narrower than current versions, so you may have to open up the barrel channels a bit (simple task). On Sale for $99.99, these are an Amazing Bargain. Designed for Rem 700 and Rem clone actions, these LRC Sporter Stocks are constructed from a high-fiber composite with precision aluminum Accublock® chassis molded into the stock.

3. Grafs.com – Happy 2020 Sale — Save 20% or more

grafs 2020 sale

We saw plenty of large-scale sales before the holidays but here’s the first multi-category sale of 2020. Grafs is running a Happy 2020 Sale featuring products from Lapua, Lyman, Caldwell, Hornady and more. Some of the hot deals we found are: Lapua brass (6mm and 6.5 Creedmoor, .260 Rem, 7.62×39), a Lyman Micrometer for just $14.99, and a Caldwell wind meter for $39.99. In addition, Aguila .22 LR rimfire ammo is on sale for $2.99 per 50rd box. That works out to just 6 cents per round!

4. Amazon — Griffin Portable Range Stool, $34.95

portable range stool

Too many ranges seem to have hard, uncomfortable seating options that never seem to be the right height for the benches. One of the best solutions is to bring your own adjustable drummer stool. This Griffin “Drum Throne” features a comfortable padded seat. The Griffin seat adjusts easily for various heights and the tripod legs fold for transport. Next time you’re shooting from a bench, do it in style and comfort.

5. Cabela’s — Ruger 10/22 Carbine, $179.97

ruger 10/22 carbine sale

Shooting .22 LR is more popular than ever. With its low cost and wealth of aftermarket accessories, the Ruger 10/22 still dominates the .22 LR entry-level rifle market. Right now, Cabela’s offers the Ruger 10/22 Carbine (blued barrel, gray stock, no sights) for a super-low $179.97 price. A basic 10/22 rifle is $249.99 at MidwayUSA so you can see Cabela’s is offering a great deal.

6. EuroOptic — Nikon BLACK Riflescope Closeout Sale

Nikon black scope sale

Nikon’s decision to stop selling riflescopes shocked many in the industry. However, Nikon’s exit from the scope marketplace has created an amazing opportunity. If you’re in the market for a tactical scope, check out EuroOptic’s Nikon BLACK riflescope sale. EuroOptic has a big selection at prices up to 47% off. Choose MOA or MRAD versions with a variety of reticle options. NOTE: These BLACK Nikons are quality scopes that have performed well in the field. You’d have to pay hundreds more to do much better.

7. Natchez — Leupold BX-2 Binoculars, $174.49

leupold binocular sale

For hunting and general outdoor use, a good pair of binoculars is invaluable. While we appreciate binoculars that cost $1000 or more, for many purposes a basic, affordable set of binoculars will get the job done. Natchez now has the Leupold BX-2 8×42 Cascades binoculars for $174.49. That is a great deal — a savings of $80 or more over the original price.

NOTE: These 8×42 Leupold binoculars have been very highly rated for the price, when compared to other budget-priced binoculars. See Video Review above.

8. Midsouth — Lyman Hearing Pro Earmuffs, $34.99

lyman pro earmuffs sale

Quality hearing protection is vital for shooters. If you have old or worn-out muffs, upgrading your earmuffs can help protect your hearing for years to come. Right now you can purchase these Lyman Electronic Hearing Pro Earmuffs for only $34.99. That’s a great price for electronic muffs that let you hear range commands and talk to fellow shooters. At this price you can pick up an extra set as a spare. Choose either Flat Dark Earth or Matte Black colors for $34.99.

9. Amazon — Two Pairs Safety Eyewear, Cords, Covers, $13.50

safety shooting glasses

Eye protection is important! All you need is one case separation or blown primer to cause serious eye injury. Don’t take that risk. Plus the CMP has made Eye Protection mandatory for all CMP Pistol and Centerfire Rifle events. Here’s a great kit with TWO Sets of safety eyewear, each with a neck strap and carry bag. These feature ANSI Z87.1-rated lenses that are anti-fog and scratch-resistant. The lenses also block harmful UV rays. Get the full SuperLite and SuperClear Lens Technology Kit for just $13.50.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Hot Deals, Optics, Reloading 1 Comment »
January 12th, 2020

Cartridge Headspace 101 — Understanding the Basicss

Brownells Headspace Gauge cutaway chamber drawing SAAMI ANSI

Do you know what the inside of a rifle chamber (and throat zone) really looks like? Do you understand the concept of headspace and why it’s important? If not, you should read the Brownells GunTech article Gauging Success – Minimum Headspace and Maximum COL. This article explains the basics of headspace and shows how to measure headspace (and length to lands) in your barrels with precision. The article also explains how to adjust your full-length sizing dies to “bump the shoulder” as needed.

Why is headspace important? The article explains: “Controlling headspace and setting proper C.O.L. also represent improved safety and reduced cost of handloading. Excessive headspace can cause case head separation and gases in excess of 60,000 PSI escaping from a rifle’s chamber. Too little headspace can result in a chamber forced bullet crimp and a bullet that becomes an obstruction more than a properly secured projectile. Excessive C.O.L. can result in a rifling-bound bullet, a condition that could result in spikes of excessive pressure.” [Editor’s NOTE: It is common for competitive benchrest shooters to seat bullets into the rifling. This can be done safely if you reduce your loads accordingly. With some bullets we often see best accuracy .010″ (or more) into the lands. However, this can generate more pressure than the same bullet seated .010″ away from initial lands contact. As with all reloading, start low and work up gradually.]

Brownells Headspace Gauge cutaway chamber drawing SAAMI ANSI

How is headspace specified? Most cartridges used within the United States are defined within ANSI/SAAMI Z299.3-4. Brownells explains: “In the case of the .243 Winchester, as an example, there are pressure specifications, cartridge drawings and, as pictured above, chamber drawings. Armed with a chamber drawing, each manufacturer producing a firearm for the .243 Winchester knows the proper standard dimension to cut chambers and set headspace. Notice there are two headspace reference dimensions for the chamber. The upper is a place in the chamber where the shoulder is .400″ in diameter; the “datum” or “basic” line. The lower is the 1.630″~1.640″ minimum – maximum dimension from the breech face (bolt face) to that point in the chamber that measures .400″.”

The actual headspace of any firearm is the distance from the breech face to the point in the chamber that is intended to prevent forward motion of a cartridge.

Finding Cartridge Length to Lands with OAL Gauge
Using a comparator on a set of calipers, you can quickly determine catridge base-to-ogive length. This is the measurement from the base of the case to the forward-most full diameter section of the bullet, typically called the ogive. Shown here, that ogive is 0.243″ diameter.

The next step is using a modified (threaded) case with a Hornady OAL tool to determine Length-to-Lands (LTL) in your rifle’s chamber. During this measurement process, the modified case, with a bullet in its neck, is inserted in the chamber. Go slow, take your time. Here are 5 tips that will help you get repeatable and reliable LTL measurements:

1. Start with a clean chamber and clean barrel throat.
2. Make sure the modified case is fully screwed down and seated on the OAL Gauge. It can sometimes unscrew a bit during repeated measurements.
3. Insert the modified case slowly and gently, but ensure the shoulder of the modified case is fully seated on the end of the chamber.
4. Push the gray plastic rod GENTLY. It is common for the bullet to be tilted a bit. You want to allow the bullet to self-center in the throat BEFORE you apply much pressure. Then tap a couple times and push until you feel resistance. Do NOT push too hard — that will jam the bullet in the lands.
5. Repeat the measurement at least 3 more times. If you follow our instructions, you should, typically, get a repeatable measurement, within 0.015″ or so, 3 out of 4 times.

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January 10th, 2020

New Berger 7mm 190 Grain Long Range Hybrid Target Bullet

Berger 7mm F-Open Hybrid Long Range Target Bullet new high bc

Just in time for the Berger SW Nationals, Berger has released a class-leading new 7mm bullet — the 190 Grain Long Range Hybrid Target (LRHT). The new 190-grainer boasts a “jump-tolerant” hybrid ogive profile along with formed meplat (bullet tip) for more consistent Ballistic Coefficient (BC). In fact, with its new MRT (Meplat Reduction Technology) nose, Doppler Radar testing confirms less than 1% BC variation from bullet to bullet. While a high BC is of course desirable for competitive shooting, shot-to-shot BC consistency is most critical when engaging targets to 600 yards and beyond. The new 7mm 190gr LRHT’s BC numbers are very impressive: 0.751 G1 and 0.384 G7.

Designed for F-Open competition, the 7mm 190gr LRHTs are optimized for cartridges such as .284 Winchester, 7mm WSM, 7mm SAUM, and 7mm Remington Magnum among others.

No you don’t need a new barrel to shoot the 190s. If you are running Berger 184s in a 1:9″ or faster twist you should be fine. Berger states: “The 190gr LRHT is complementary to the industry-leading Berger 184gr F-Open Target bullet with an identical stability factor and improved ballistics when launched from 1:9″-twist barrels.”

Berger 7mm F-Open Hybrid Long Range Target Bullet new high bc

Meplat Reduction Technology for More Consistent BCs
Utilizing advanced and proprietary manufacturing processes, Berger’s innovative Meplat Reduction Technology (MRT) applies controlled pressure along the nose of each LRHT bullet. Berger states this delivers ” a homogeneous and repeatable profile for the industry’s most consistent Ballistic Coefficients”.

“With improved MRT consistency contributing to its superior ballistic coefficient and form factor, the 190 is one of our highest performance projectiles to date. They provide minimal dispersion and more hits on target for F-Open competitors, long range shooters and larger capacity 7mm enthusiasts.” said Garett Stoddard, Berger’s Lead Production Engineer.

The new Berger 7mm 190 Grain Long Range Hybrid Target Bullets are shipping now to Berger authorized retailers.

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January 10th, 2020

Getting the Most Out of Your Progressive Press — PowerUser Tips

Ultimate Reloader Progressive Press Hornady
Blue, Red, Green — There are many Progressive Press options on the market…

When you need ammo fast — lots of ammo, it’s hard to beat a progressive reloading press for output. We use progressive presses to load handgun ammo and .223 Rem cartridges for varmint safaris. With good dies, and proper press set-up, today’s progressive presses can produce surprisingly uniform and accurate ammo. No, you won’t see Benchrest Hall-of-Famers loading PPC cartridges on progressives. However, if you need 1000 rounds for your next prairie dog adventure, you should consider getting a progressive. Below you can see a Hornady Lock-N-Load AP configured to load .308 Winchester in bulk.

Hornady .308 winchester lock-n-load progressive press

CLICK HERE to Read Full Article

ultimate reloader progressive

UltimateReloader.com has published helpful Tips to Optimize Progressive Rifle Loading. No matter whether you have a Red (Hornady), Green (RCBS), or Blue (Dillon) progressive, this article can help you load more efficiently and produce better results. Here are some highlights:

Proper Brass Prep
Just like a good paint job requires good prep work, great rifle ammo requires good brass prep. In order to make sure your rifle loading goes smoothly, make sure to perform the following brass prep steps:

  • Clean the brass (tumble, ultrasonic, etc.)
  • Inspect brass for cracks, deep dents, etc.
  • For military brass: de-prime, ream/swage primer pockets, size with small-base sizer die (small base usually optional).
  • Measure brass length — if too long, size and then trim.
  • Final inspection before loading.
  • Cleaning primer pockets may be something you’ll consider (I don’t clean primer pockets except for rare cases or match ammo).

Smooth and Steady Pace
Since you’re loading rifle ammunition on a progressive, you’re already saving a load of time, so there’s no need to rush things! Attention to detail is super-important for safety and for good results. Always keep an eye on powder level (goes down FAST) and what’s happening at each station.

The Right Press and Press Setup
Look for a heavy-duty, well-built press that will stand up to rifle loading. You’ll also want to make sure your powder measure will have the proper capacity (~25 grains for .223, ~50 grains for 308). If you are bulk reloading, ensure you have enough stations for sizing, charging, powder check, bullet feed, bullet seating, and (optional) bullet crimp. Compare the powder measuring systems, and give careful consideration to the priming process. You want case priming to be 100% reliable. This video reviews the differences between the Dillon XL-650 and the new XL-750 Progressive presses.

More Ultimate Reloader Resources for Users of Progressive Presses:

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January 9th, 2020

GUN INFO 101 — Headspace Defined and Illustrated

Ultimate Reloader Brownells headspacing go gage gauge barrel gunsmithing
This illustration shows headspace measurement for the popular .308 Winchester cartridge, which headspaces on the shoulder. Image copyright 2015 Ultimate Reloader.

In this Brownells Tech Tip, Brownells gun tech Steve Ostrem explains what headspace is and why it’s one of the most critical measurements for nearly all firearms. Even if you’re an experienced rifle shooter, it’s worth watching this video to refresh your understanding of headspace measurements, and the correct use of “GO” and “NO-GO” gauges.

Headspace Definition
In firearms, headspace is the distance measured from the part of the chamber that stops forward motion of the cartridge (the datum reference) to the face of the bolt. Used as a verb, headspace refers to the interference created between this part of the chamber and the feature of the cartridge that achieves the correct positioning. Different cartridges have their datum lines in different positions in relation to the cartridge. For example, 5.56x45mm NATO ammunition headspaces off the shoulder of the cartridge, whereas .303 British headspaces off the forward rim of the cartridge.

If the headspace is too short, ammunition that is in specification may not chamber correctly. If headspace is too large, the ammunition may not fit as intended or designed and the cartridge case may rupture, possibly damaging the firearm and injuring the shooter. (Source: Wikipedia)

Forster Headspace diagram belted magnum rimfire

Go gauge gage NOGO no-go field gaugesHeadspace Gauges
Headspace is measured with a set of two headspace gauges: a “Go” gauge, and a “No-Go” gauge. Headspace gauges resemble the cartridges for the chambers they are designed to headspace, and are typically made of heat-treated tool steel. Both a “Go” and a “No-Go” gauge are required for a gunsmith to headspace a firearm properly. A third gauge, the “Field” gauge, is used (as the name implies) in the field to indicate the absolute maximum safe headspace. This gauge is used because, over time, the bolt and receiver will wear, the bolt and lugs compress, and the receiver may stretch, all causing the headspace to gradually increase from the “factory specs” measured by the “Go” and “No-Go” gauges. A bolt that closes on “No-Go” but not on “Field” is close to being unsafe to fire, and may malfunction on cartridges that are slightly out of spec. (Source: Wikipedia)

To learn more, read Brownell’s longer article Headspace Gauges and How to Use Them. Among other things, this explains the relative lengths of “Go”, “No-Go”, and “Field” gauges. The “Field” is actually the longest: “The GO gauge corresponds to the SAAMI (Sporting Arms & Ammunition Manufacturer’s Institute) minimum chamber length, while the FIELD gauge usually matches the maximum chamber depth, or slightly less. NO-GO gauges are an intermediate length between minimum and maximum, that, technically, is a voluntary dimension. A firearm that closes on a NO-GO gauge and does not close on a FIELD gauge may not give good accuracy and may have very short cartridge case life from the ammunition re-loader’s standpoint.”

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January 8th, 2020

Primer Pocket Rocket — Another Reason to Use Eye Protection

Primer Blown Gas defect winchester casehead

A few years back, Our friend Grant Guess had a “close encounter” with a bad primer. An apparently defective primer caused part of the casehead on one of his rounds to blow out. This, in turn, allowed high pressure gas to vent through the damaged primer pocket. Take a good look, boys and girls. This is yet another very good reason to wear safety glasses. The cartridge was a 6.5-06, handloaded in necked-down Winchester-headstamp .270 Win brass. Grant reports:

“I had a blow through between the primer and the primer pocket today. The action was really smoking and I got a face full of gas. This was a reasonably light charge. Thank God for safety glasses.

I should also mention that it appears there is a 3/64 hole that is halfway between the primer and the primer pocket. Like it burned a small jet hole through both of them.”

Could this happen to you? It just might. On seeing this damaged case, one of Grant’s Facebook friends, Chris D., observed: “Search the internet, you will see a lot of these pin hole ‘in the corner’ failures. Obviously Winchester has some issues with the LR primers.”

Careful Examination Reveals Apparent Primer Defect
After this incident, Grant examined the damaged case: “I pinned the flash hole and it is not over-sized or under-sized. The primer clearly has an area where it had a defect. At [50,000 CUP], it doesn’t take much of a defect to cause issues. There was a slight bit of pucker-factor on the next shot….”

Primer Blown Gas defect winchester casehead

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January 8th, 2020

Dollars and $ense — Bargain 9mm Ammo Vs. Handloading

Sig Sauer P210 Legend

Everyone should have a 9mm Luger (9x19mm) pistol. The 9mm Luger round feeds/cycles great, recoil is moderate, and a vast array of excellent 9mm handguns are available. And, perhaps most importantly, quality factory ammo is affordable. In fact because 9x19mm ammo is produced in such quantity, it is some of the cheapest centerfire pistol ammo you can buy. Today we’ve found some great 9mm Luger ammo deals for you, with big-name factory stuff for under 18 cents per round.

At that price, it may not be worth reloading. Consider this — typical 9mm component costs easily approach fifteen cents per round even with free brass: Bullet ($0.08 – $0.10), Powder ($0.02), and Primer ($0.04). Given the costs of bullets, powder, and primers, it may not be worth reloading 9mm Luger, especially if you value your precious time!

HK H&K Heckler Koch P7 PSP P7M8 9mm Luger pistol

Should You Reload 9mm Ammo? Run the Numbers, Then Decide…
While this Editor reloads almost all his .45 ACP and .44 Magnum ammo, I generally shoot factory ammo in my 9mm Luger pistols. Why? When you give some reasonable value to the time you spend setting-up and operating your reloading press, it is hard to beat factory ammo at around $10 per 50-count box (i.e. $0.20/round). While once-fired 9mm brass is plentiful (and cheap), you can easily spend 15-16 cents per round just on bullet, powder, and primer. So reloading may only save you 4 or 5 cents per round. Hence if you load 200 rounds per hour (including set-up time), you only recoup $8 to $10 per hour (at best) for all your effort. You may decide, as I did, that my time was worth more than that.

Great Deals on 9mm Luger (9x19mm) Factory Ammunition

Sellier & Bellot 115gr FMJ at Brownells
$186.99 for 1000-rd Case
$15 OFF $125.00 with CODE M9D
Net Cost: $171.99 for 1000 rounds

9mm 9x19mm factory ammo deal sale bargain

Browning 9mm 115gr FMJ at Grafs.com
$10.99 per 50-rd box ($0.22/rd)
Flat Rate Shipping $7.95

9mm 9x19mm factory ammo deal sale bargain

Fiocchi 9mm 115gr FMJ at Natchez
$9.79 per 50-rd box ($0.20/rd)
Shipping Extra

9mm 9x19mm factory ammo deal sale bargain

CCI Blazer 9mm 115gr at Midsouth
$9.08 per 50-rd box ($0.18/rd)
Shipping Extra

9mm 9x19mm factory ammo deal sale bargain

Pistolet levedev Russian 9mm

HK H&K Heckler Koch P7 PSP P7M8 9mm Luger pistol

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January 7th, 2020

SHOT Show New Product Showcase — Stocks, Optics, & More

2020 SHOT Show Planner new products Las Vegas

CLICK HERE for ALL 338 New-for-2020 SHOT Show Products »

2018 SHOT Show Planner new productsThousands of new products will be on display at SHOT Show 2020, the huge gun industry trade show held each January in Las Vegas. Some of the most highly-anticipated products have not yet been revealed, including new rifles, chassis systems, handguns, reloading tools, and state-of-the-art optics.

However, the official SHOT Show Product Planner offers a “sneak peak” at 338 new-for-2020 products. More will come in the weeks ahead. For the time being, however, here are TEN interesting new products. Since most are completely new items, we haven’t been able to test them yet. Accordingly the product descriptions are provided by the manufacturers.

1. Minelli USA — WOOX Furiosa Chassis

MDT Modular Driven Hybrid Stock System

The WOOX Furiosa Rifle Chassis is a hybrid stock that combines wood sections over an aluminum sub-chassis, giving the “feel” of a wood stock with the strength and rigidity of a metal stock. The WOOX Furiosa is a full-length rifle chassis replacement for Remington 700s and Sauer 100s. The Furiosa pairs a full-length aluminum skeleton with high-quality wooden front and rear stock elements. The rear stock features an adjustable cheek rest and adjustable LOP and integrated flush cups. The front stock offers M-LOK® rails. The WOOX Furiosa retails for $999.00. Visit Website.

2. March Scopes — High Master 5-42x56mm Wide Angle

March optics scope Wide angle FFP High Master ED Glass

The new March 5-42x56mm High Master-Wide Angle is a premium First Focal Plane (FFP) optic developed for serious competition and tactical shooters. This scope features the advanced High Master lens system, with two Super ED lens elements for superb clarity, increased contrast, and minimal chromatic aberration. This advanced optic features a “Temperature Anti-Drift Lens System” which compensates for ambient temp changes by altering the refractive index of the lenses. The 5-42x56mm March High Master offers a full 40 MILs of vertical adjustment, so you can shooter very long ranges without an angled rail. The eyepiece is the new March Wide Angle model with greater field of view throughout the 8.4X zoom range. Center dot and cross are illuminated with .2 and .5 MIL hash marks. Visit Website.

3. GRS Riflestocks — GRS WARG Hybrid Stock

GRS norway rifle stock composite precision PRS chassis

The innovative GRS WARG is a modular, hybrid stock with metal fore-end, full adjustability, and a fiberglass-reinforced main stock shell. The grip is comfortable and ergonomic and cheek height as well as LOP is quickly and easily adjusted using the GRS SpeedLock 2.0 system makes it easy to adjust the length and height of the stock. On the new WARG the AR-style fore-end boast an M-Lok mounting system for Picatinny rails, sling studs, flush cups and other accessories. The GRS WARG is offered in three colors, tan, matte black, and dark green. Stock weight is just under 3 pounds in Tikka T3 inlet. Price is $730.00. Visit Website.

4. Metal Art of Wisconsin — The Freedom Cabinet

Freedom Cabinet Wall Safe concealment System RFID Biometric

The unique Freedom Cabinet is a patriotic, wall-mounted Stars & Stripes Flag-themed concealment unit. Available in Wood, Steel or Carbon Fiber, each secure Freedom Cabinet features inlaid steel and Invisible RFID or Biometric locking systems. The Freedom Cabinet costs $194.95. Along with this flip-up Freedom cabinet, there is a “Slider” version for $254.95. Visit Website.

5. DYX International — Quantum Rangefinder Riflescope

laser rangefinder scope riflescope quantum burris eliminator

The Quantum Rangefinder Riflescope is a new, affordable option for hunters who want a scope with a built-in Laser Rangefinder that automatically calculates shot hold-over (like the Burris Eliminator). You input the ballistics, click on the target, ant the built-in AMOLED display shows your hold-over point. Notably, the display can also show wind speed/ direction, temp and humidity (from external sensors). DYX Int’l claims the laser works out to 3000 meters, but we suspect the usable range on non-reflective objects is well under 1000 yards. Weight is 570 grams, which is about 6 ounces lighter than the Burris Eliminator III. Visit Website.

6. FightLite Industries — 50-State Legal SCR Hybrid AR

fightlite sport configurable rifle SCR AR15 AR plaform sporter

The innovative, patented FightLite SCR® (Sport Configurable Rifle) blends the utility and accuracy of an AR15 with the classic lines of an American sporter. Importantly, this rifle is 50-state legal! The old-fashioned stock design of the SCR permits shipping to FFLs in all 50 states. SCR models for 2020 feature both solid walnut and laminated stocks and furniture as well as a free-floating M-Lok handguard option. The FightLite SCR accepts most Modern Sporting Rifle parts and accessories including magazines, upper receivers, barrels, bolts, handguards, and optics. SCRs start at $1169.99. NOTE: Along with the complete rifle, Fightlite also offers sporter stock lowers for $659.99. Visit Website.

7. Modular Driven Technologies (MDT) — Hybrid Stock System

MDT Modular Driven Hybrid Stock System

Modular Driven Technologies (MDT) has a new Hybrid Stock System, designed to “bring the benefits of a chassis to shooters who prefer a more traditional feel.” This has an internal frame of CNC-machined 6061 aluminum. That is then clad in textured composite panels with textured finish. On the metal fore-end is an MLOK pattern attachment system. The MDT offers two (2) interchangeable grip options, angled and vertical (both included). The stock system retails for $549.00. Visit Website.

8. Elftmann Tactical — Savage 110 SE Trigger

elf elftmann savage trigger

The ELF Savage 110 SE Precision Rifle Trigger is a high-quality, drop-in trigger system for the Savage 110, Axis, and other Savage rifles. Pull weight adjusts from under 1.25 pounds to over 4 pounds. Users report this trigger has a good feel and very crisp break. Aerospace grade bearings assure consistency and a smooth pull. Because the bearings press-fit in the trigger, ELF claims “there is absolutely no play in any components”. The adjustable aluminum trigger shoe is offered in both curved and flat styles. Price is $149.00. ELF says this trigger is “100% Drop Safe”. Visit Website.

9. Danger Close — Reaper Multi-Function Target System

Reaper danger close multi target

The Reaper System is a unique, multi-functional target system. Weighing only 180 pounds, this wheel-equipped mobile target system can be put in place in just a few minutes. Constructed with ⅜” thick AR-500 steel, the Reaper can safely withstand shots from handguns (7 yards and beyond), .223 Rem ARs (20 yards and beyond), all the way up to a .338 Lapua Magnum shot at 240 yards out. The system allows you to shoot a variety of target styles — Cardboard Targets, Anatomical Vitals Plates, or Dueling Tree Plates. Visit Website.

10. Shooter’s Choice — Bullseye Box Deluxe Cleaning Kit

shooters choice bullseye box cleaning kit

The new Shooter’s Choice Bullseye Box Utility Gun Cleaning Kit includes the necessary equipment for cleaning rifles, pistols and shotguns. Gear is stowed in supplied tackle-box with pull out drawers. This is a very complete kit with cleaning rods, brushes, mops and jags for most popular calibers: .22/.223, .243, .270, .308, 9mm, .40, .45, 20 ga & 12 ga. The kit also ships with 1″ and 2.5″ square patches (100 each). Plus you’ll get all these solvents/cleaners: MC-7 cleaner, FP-10 Lubricant, All Weather Firearm Grease, and Rust Prevent. Additional cleaning supplies are: 3 all-purpose receiver brushes, 50 pipe cleaners, 100 cleaning swabs, lens brush, dust brush, and 3 microfiber gun towels. Bullseye Box MSRP is $149.99. Visit Website.

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January 7th, 2020

Ammo Reference Book Covers 200+ Cartridge Types

Ammunition Ammo Factory commerical hunting load data ballistics hunt Bob Forker

Do you use factory ammo in your hunting rifles? Perhaps you buy bulk centerfire ammo for your AR15 or varmint rifle. Then this book is for you.

If you ever shoot factory ammo, you should consider getting Ammo & Ballistics 6. This resource book lists over 2,600 different loads for 200+ cartridge types from 17 Mach 2 up to .700 Nitro Express, including the most popular centerfire and rimfire cartridges (both rifle and handgun). In this updated-for-2017 Sixth Edition, there are over 3,000 tables covering virtually every caliber and every load for all commercially-loaded hunting ammunition sold in the USA. Tables include velocity, energy, wind drift, bullet drop, and ballistic coefficients up to 1,000 yards.

Ammunition Ammo Factory commerical hunting load data ballistics hunt Bob Forker

Ammo & Ballistics 6 helps you select ammo for a hunt — quickly compare the velocity and knock-down power of various commercial ammo. This book can help you choose a caliber/chambering for your next hunting rig.

Verified Book Purchaser Reviews
“Outstanding reference guide for shooters and ballistic enthusiasts alike. Has data on velocity, energy delivered, Taylor KO index, windage and elevation on numerous loadings for hundreds of [cartridge types]. Each cartridge has all dimensions labeled (i.e rim, case length, neck, etc.), and has an informative description of the cartridges history/relevance.” — S. Step, 2017

“Great heaps of data! This volume has pages and pages of new data for .22LR like the hot Velocitor, and also on the .22 WMR from 30 grains up into the 50s. Most importantly there is lots of range data, drop, windage, kinetic energy, etc. — Terrific reference guide….” — E. Svanoe

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January 5th, 2020

How Rimfire Ammo is Made — Videos Reveal Production Process

22 .22 Plinkster Youtube Video CCI Speer Rimfire Ammo Ammunition plant Lewiston Idaho

22Plinkster Tours CCI/Speer Idaho Factory
Trickshot artist and YouTube host 22Plinkster recently got a chance to tour the CCI/Speer production facility in Lewiston, Idaho. This large plant produces both rimfire and centerfire ammunition. While touring the plant, 22Plinkster was allowed to capture video showing the creation of .22 LR rounds from start to finish. This is a fascinating video, well worth watching.

This revealing video shows all phases of .22 LR ammo production including cupping, drawing, annealing, washing, drying, head-stamping, priming, powder charging, bullet seating, crimping, waxing, inspection, and final packaging. If you’ve got ten minutes to spare, we really recommend you watch the video from start to finish. You’ll definitely learn some new things about rimfire ammo.

Field & Stream Tours Federal Ammo Plant in Minnesota

Note to Viewers — After Starting Video, Click Speaker Icon to HEAR audio!

Last year a Field & Stream writer toured the Federal ammunition production facility in Anoka, Minnesota. This large plant produces both rimfire and centerfire ammunition. While touring the plant, the reporter was allowed to capture video showing the creation of .22 LR rounds from start to finish. This is a fascinating video, well worth watching. Click speaker icon for sound.

The Manufacturing Process for .22 LR Rimfire Ammunition
Shooting Sports USA explains: “Rimfire cartridge cases are the oldest self-contained cartridge in existence, having been in continuous production since the mid-1850s. Rimfire cases are drawn from a thin piece of brass and formed with a hollow rim. A priming compound is then forced into the case using centrifugal force, where it is charged with powder and a bullet is seated in the mouth of the case. The case is then crimped around the bullet to ensure sufficient push and pull when the round is fired. When the firing pin strikes the thin brass rim of the case, the hollow rim is crushed and the primer is ignited.” Source: SSUSA.org 9/2/2017.

.22 LR ammunition photo
Photo courtesy BulkAmmo.com.

Buried in CCI Rimfire Ammo
22Plinkster was literally up to his neck in ammo while touring the CCI/Speer Idaho ammo plant. He says: “This was truly a dream come true for me. I can’t thank the people at CCI and Speer enough for allowing me to do this. I couldn’t possibly show everything that went on at the factory. However, hopefully I showed you enough for you to grasp the concept of how rimfire [ammo] is made.”

22 .22 Plinkster Youtube Video CCI Speer Rimfire Ammo Ammunition plant Lewiston Idaho

History — Speer Brothers Brought Ammo Production to Lewiston
Here is an interesting historical footnote. Today’s large CCI/Speer operation in Idaho can be traced back to the companies founded by the Speer brothers. After settling in Lewiston in 1944, Vernon Speer started Speer Bullets. A few years later, in 1951, Vernon’s brother Dick (with partner Arvid Nelson) started Cascade Cartridges Inc., a producer of small-arms ammunition and primers. Yes, as you may suspect, Cascade Cartridges Inc. is now CCI, a Vista Outdoor company, and one of the largest manufacturers of primers and loaded ammunition. Today, the CCI/Speer Lewiston plant produces both Speer bullets and CCI-branded ammunition and primers. Vista Outdoor’s predecessor, ATK, acquired the plant in 2001. Vernon Speer died in 1979, and Dick Speer died in 1994.

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January 5th, 2020

Hi-Viz Atomic Green Target Circles with Box Centers

Birchwood Casey Atomic Green Target Spots Circles day-glo

Birchwood Casey Atomic Green orange Target Spots Circles day-gloWe like to use the Birchwood Casey 2″ and 3″ orange “Target Spots” stick-on circles (with diamond centers) for shooting at 300 yards and beyond (photo right). These give you a very precise aiming point if you align your cross-hairs with the corners of the diamond. However, we know that some guys, particularly those whose scopes have “target-dot” reticles, prefer to have a small box for an aim point. In addition, the orange Target Spots are not a true “Day-Glo” color, so they may seem a little dull (low-contrast) when the target is in shadow.

For guys who want an ultra-high contrast target with a square box in the center, Birchwood Casey offers a series of neon green targets with box centers and spike-style extended vertical and horizontal lines (like on a compass). The manufacturer explains: “These adhesive Target Spots come in highly-visible Atomic Green. The crosshair design fulfills the needs of open-sight shooters along with scope users. Easily line up your open sights on the center square or lay the crosshairs along the vertical and horizontal diminishing lines.” You can also rotate the Atomic Green Target Spots 45° to create a diamond center with the crosshairs in an “X” pattern.

We’ve sampled these targets. The Atomic Green background is a true “Day-Glo” color (like safety signs) so these circles appear very bright on a target backer. These work well in low light. We won’t throw away our orange Target Spots, but these Atomic Green circles are a nice option. NOTE: Atomic Green spots are NOT “splatter” targets — a contrasting bright color does NOT appear around your bullet holes.

Multiple Sizes Offered
Birchwood Casey sells the new Atomic green circles in various sizes. You can order a Combo Pack with sixty 1″-diameter spots, thirty 2″-diameter spots, and twenty 3″-diameter circles.

Or purchase the 3″-diameter green spots in a separate pack of forty (40) circles. Birchwood Casey also sells 6″-diameter Atomic Green Target Spots, 10 per pack.

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January 2nd, 2020

TEN Worst Reloading Mistakes — Do You Agree with This List?

Shooting Times Reloading Failures Mistakes Top Ten 10

Last fall, Shooting Times released an article entitled “Ten Most Common Reloading Mistakes”. Listed below are the Top Ten mistakes hand-loaders can make, at least according to Shooting Times. What do you think of this list — does it overlook some important items?

Top Ten Reloading Mistakes According to Shooting Times:

1. Cracked Cases — Reloaders need to inspect brass and cull cases with cracks.

2. Dented Cases — Dents or divets can be caused by excess case lube.

3. Excessive Powder Charge — Overcharges (even with the correct powder) can be very dangerous.

4. Primers Not Seated Deep Enough — “High” primers can cause functioning issues.

5. Crushed Primers — Some priming devices can deform primers when seating.

6. Excess Brass Length — Over time, cases stretch. Cases need to be trimmed and sized.

7. Bullets Seated Too Far Out — If the bullet is seated too long you may not even be able to chamber the round. Also, with hunting rounds, bullets should not engage the rifling.

8. Burrs on Case Mouths — Ragged edges on case mouths can actually shave bullet jackets.

9. Excess Crimp — This is a common problem with pistol rounds loaded on progressives. If case lengths are not uniform some cases will get too much crimp, others too little.

10. Inadequate Crimp — This can be an issue with magnum pistol cartridges in revolvers.

Do you agree with this list? We think some important things are missing, such as not adjusting full-length sizing dies properly. This can cause the shoulder to be pushed back too far (or not far enough). Another common mistake is using brass that is worn out, i.e. stretched in the case-head area from multiple cycles of hot loads. We also think the #1 error a reloader can make is using the wrong powder altogether. That can be a fatal mistake. See what happens when you load pistol powder in a rifle.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 13 Comments »
January 1st, 2020

Reloading Bench — How to Optimize Case Neck Tension

Case Loading Neck Tension Sierra Bullets Paul Box

by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Paul Box
One thing that plays a major role in building an accuracy load is neck tension [one of the factors that controls the “grip” on a bullet]. I think a lot of reloaders pretty much take this for granted and don’t give that enough thought.

So, how much neck tension is enough?

Thru the years and shooting both a wide variety of calibers and burn rates of powder, I’ve had the best accuracy overall with .002″ of neck tension. Naturally you will run into a rifle now and then that will do its best with something different like .001″ or even .003″, but .002″ has worked very well for me. So how do we control the neck tension? Let’s take a look at that.

First of all, if you’re running a standard sizing die with an expander ball, just pull your decapping rod assembly out of your die and measure the expander ball. What I prefer [for starters] is to have an expander ball that is .003″ smaller than bullet diameter. So for example in a .224 caliber, run an expander ball of .221″. If you want to take the expander ball down in diameter, just chuck up your decapping rod assembly in a drill and turn it down with some emery cloth. When you have the diameter you need, polish it with three ought or four ought steel wool. This will give it a mirror finish and less drag coming through your case neck after sizing.

Tips for Dies With Interchangeable Neck Bushings
If you’re using a bushing die, I measure across the neck of eight or ten loaded rounds, then take an average on these and go .003″ under that measurement. There are other methods to determine bushing size, but this system has worked well for me.

Case Loading Neck Tension Sierra Bullets Paul Box

Proper Annealing Can Deliver More Uniform Neck Tension
Another thing I want to mention is annealing. When brass is the correct softness, it will take a “set” coming out of the sizing die far better than brass that has become to hard. When brass has been work hardened to a point, it will be more springy when it comes out of a sizing die and neck tension will vary. Have you ever noticed how some bullets seated harder than others? That is why.

Case Loading Neck Tension Sierra Bullets Paul Box

Paying closer attention to neck tension will give you both better accuracy and more consistent groups.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 3 Comments »
December 31st, 2019

Midsouth End of Year Sale — Last Chance, Final Price Reductions

Midsouth Shooters Supply End of Year Clearance Sale EOYC discount prices New Year 2020

January 1, 2020 NOTICE: Midsouth’s End of Year Sale Was Set to End at Midnight 12/31/2019. But we are still seeing Clearance Pricing available on hundreds of items — so you may still have a chance!

There’s an amazing sale going on right now at Midsouth Shooters — prices on over 1000 products have been dropping every day since 12/26/19. The Midsouth End of Year Clearance (EOYC) sale is now in the home stretch — the last round of price reductions is today, December 31, 2019 at 11:59 pm Central Time. If you snooze you loose — EOYC inventory is selling fast!

We saw some great deals on Norma brass/bullets and Hornady ammo. Leupold and Nikon scope prices are drastically reduced. RCBS Dies and Reloading presses are deeply discounted. AR accessories are discounted. There are also big savings on gun cases, muzzle brakes, scope mounts and more…

Go to MidsouthShootersSupply.com to see the final, absolutely lowest prices for these and all other clearance items. NOTE: You can go to the EOYC Sale Page, which features all Clearance Sale items, but you can also use the regular Search Function — Sale Items will appear with the Close-out Prices indicated. For example, search for “Leupold”, or “Norma”, or “Hornady”. Scroll down the page and you’ll seen Close-Out Items with a red “Sale” tag and “Close-Out Price” marked.

Here are three examples tracking Midsouth’s EOYC price cuts since December 26th:

EOYC Sale Price Cuts for Timney Triggers

Midsouth Shooters Supply Timney Trigger End of Year Clearance Sale EOYC discount prices New Year 2020

EOYC Sale Price Cuts for Nikon Scopes

Midsouth ShootersSupply  Nikon Tactical Scope FX-1000 End of Year Clearance Sale EOYC discount prices New Year 2020

EOYC Sale Price Cuts for Aero Precision 6.5 Creedmoor AR Upper

Midsouth ShootersSupply    End of Year Clearance Sale EOYC Aero Precision AR upper discount prices New Year 2020

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals, News, Optics No Comments »
December 30th, 2019

Bargain Finder 223: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Sunday afternoon or Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. Midsouth — End of Year Clearance — Prices Drop Daily

Midsouth Shooters supply sale discount end of year clearance code

Visit Midsouth Shooters right now for big year-end savings. You’ll find great deals on Leupold, Nikon, and Vortex optics, Hornady and RCBS tools, and major-brand bullets and brass (Berger, Hornady, Lapua, Norma, Sierra). Shown above are notable deals — but there are over 1000 products on close-out. We suggest you take your time. Use the Search and Sort functions to find deals by brand (e.g. “Berger”, “Lapua”, or “Leupold”). There are some GREAT deals to be had here! NOTE: The prices go down each day until the sale ends, but inventories are limited. If you wait too long, you may miss out.

2. EuroOptic — Vortex Year-End Scope Clearance

vortex scope sale

Vortex Optics riflescopes and spotting scopes offer excellent value with a truly outstanding warranty. Right now hunters and long-range shooters can save big with EuroOptic’s Year-End Clearance Sale. You’ll find Vortex Viper and Razor scopes are now deeply discounted at EuroOptic.com. You’ll find a wide range of models, zoom levels, and reticles available.

3. Brownells — End-of-Year Year Promo Codes — Big Savings

brownells promo code sale

If you’re like us you might’ve gotten most of what we wanted for Christmas but you still have gift money to spend on toys. Head over to Brownells.com and use the Discount Codes listed above to save money and in some cases get FREE shipping to boot. For example, with CODE M8Y you get $20 off a $200+ order and shipping is free. Be sure to meet the minimums listed for each code to get the maximum savings possible.

4. Precision Reloading — All Berger Products 10% Off

precision reloading berger sale

With the new year coming, it’s a good time to stock up on bullets. Precision Reloading is now offering 10% OFF ALL Berger products. This sale covers both competition and hunting bullets as well as Berger loaded ammo. Berger bullets are proven winners for all forms of centerfire rifle competition and Berger hunting projectiles are also excellent. Visit Precision Reloading to get 10% Off All Berger bullets and loaded ammo. This sale may close very soon.

5. Amazon — Kowa TSN-501 Spotting Scope, $349.00

kowa spotting scope sale

Without question, Kowa’s top-of-the-line Prominar series spotting scopes are some of the best spotters money can buy. Kowa also offers much more affordable spotters that deliver excellent optical “bang for the buck” in compact formats. Check out this Kowa TSN-501 50mm Angled Spotting Scope with Eyepiece. This unit features an ultra-compact design and impressive clarity for under $350.00 including 20-40X Zoom Eyepiece. The TSN-501’s small size and light weight make this unit very handy for hunters or for a prone shooter on the firing line who needs to watch mirage.

6. Bullet Central — Bix’N Andy TacSport Pro

bullet central sale

Bix’N Andy triggers are favored by many top F-Class, benchrest, and long-range competitors for good reason. These trigger have a superb break and excellent adjustability. The TacSport PRO is one of the best triggers you can buy. Up until now it’s been tough to find but Bullet Central now has a supply of TacSport Pro Single-Stage and Two-Stage Triggers in stock. These typically sell out quickly, so grab now while they’re in stock.

7. Grafs — Big Holiday Sale Through 12/31/2019

grafs sale

Like many other vendors, Grafs.com had a big Black Friday Sale. But Graf’s has extended its discounts all the way through the end of the year — 11:59 pm on Wednesday, December 31st. Head over to Graf’s Extended Holiday Sale Page. Save on ammo, reloading tools, optics, and more. We noted the great prices on Lyman products and Nikon Scopes (Nikon close-out sale). You can also get FREE Hazmat with powder/primers purchase of $150.00 or more.

8. Grizzly — Bald Eagle Range and Rifle Case Clearance

bald eagle sale

Bald Eagle range bags and rifle cases offer high quality at very reasonable prices. Sadly, Grizzly is closing these items out so here’s your last chance to grab a Bald Eagle bag or case before they’re all gone. We use the range bags to transport our spotting scopes and they work great for that task — these come in 15″ and 20″ sizes in various colors. The excellent Bald Eagle Rifle cases also come in multiple sizes and colors — but some styles/colors are disappearing quickly, so don’t delay.

9. Palmetto State Armory — Taurus G2c 9mm Pistol, $179.99

Carry pistol $185 bargain Taurus G2C ccw handgun review discount sales

This is a good little compact carry gun at a great price. Palmetto State Armory has the black-on-black Taurus 9mm G2c for just $179.99. But it gets even better — with Taurus Factory Rebate your net cost is just $154.99! That’s one of the lowest prices we’ve ever seen for a big name, reliable 9mm handgun. NOTE: Taurus Rebate Offer expires at 11:59 pm 12/31/19.

10. Midsouth — Pachmayr Shock Shield Gel Recoil Pad, $12.54

pachmayr pad buttpad recoil gel filled

The new Pachmayr Shock Shield gel-filled slip-On Recoil Pad is a simple, handy solution for reducing the felt recoil of your rifles. The one-size design stretches to fit the vast majority of conventional rifle and shotgun buttstocks. WATCH VIDEO to see how the Shock Shield goes on in seconds.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals, Hunting/Varminting, Optics No Comments »